Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Bell from Hell (1973)

Grey, colorless, and at times very Gothic looking, this Spanish thriller, A Bell from Hell, from director Claudio Guerin Hill has an oppressive, gloomy undertone in its look and feel that, along with the story, feels like a melancholic reminder of a golden past: ruined, overtaken, and killed by treachery and hypocrisy.

After being involuntarily committed to a mental clinic for three years, John (Renaud Verley) is released on probation and given a summons for his case coming up in two months. At the start of his probation, he moves into his deceased mother’s dusty old house, finds a brief job at a cattle slaughtering house, and visits with his aunt, Marta (Viveca Lindfors) and her three lovely daughters. Himself unsure if he’s insane, John alludes to suspicions that his aunt paid a great deal of money to have him committed in order for her to keep his inheritance. Amidst a rather carefree lifestyle and a penchant for practical jokes, some of John’s activities strongly suggest he’s planning something horrible as payback for what his relatives supposedly did to him.

This is indeed a pleasing Spanish thriller. Though it adheres to the commonly used plot devices of vengeance and family inheritance, the story is still well written and kept interesting thanks to the quirky dynamics of the young, mischievous, and darkly humorous protagonist, John. Whether or not viewers end up liking him, John is still an entertaining, multidimensional character, a man-child that’s part hero and part villain. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Deep Shock (2014)

A new horror short written, directed, and co-produced by Italian filmmaker Davide Melini, titled Deep Shock, is currently in pre-production with a targeted release date for sometime in 2014 as part of a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the giallo film; which is considering Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace from 1964 to be the starting point, as it is the film that set forth a lot of the immortal giallo tropes we know and love.

I covered two of Melini’s previous horror shorts, The Puzzle and The Sweet Hand of the White Rose, back in May of last year, and if you caught those articles, you’ll know that I am pretty enthusiastic about Melini’s work.

The plot synopsis for Deep Shock goes like this: “Sarah can't completely overcome the deaths of her grandfather and her older sister. The trauma and lack of sleep cause her to embark on a strange journey of apparitions and murders, apparently caused by her mind…” -IMDB/Deep Shock

I love the look of the official movie poster, mainly thanks to the fabulous art, by Cristina Gómez Rosales. It has a nice classic look, which is suitable for what Melini is shooting for with this film: a desire to bring back the ideas used during the golden age of giallo film making, during the ‘60s and ‘70s, and deliver them with new technology to be appreciated by new and longtime fans. The tagline “Italian giallo is ready to make its return” sounds bold, but based on Melini’s previous work, I'm pretty excited about this upcoming new short, and I’ve got a feeling that the writer/director will deliver.

Melini plans to have six actors total. The music in the film will be realized by the Gothic Italian band Visioni Gotiche (multiple samples of their work can be heard on the band’s MySpace page Here). The shooting location will be Málaga, Spain, and it’s possible that a teaser will be released sometime this month or in April.

Deep ShockFacebook Page 

Deep ShockIMDB Page